Athens is a vibrant college town of 127,000 people (2020) in the Classic Heartland region of Georgia. Athens is most popular in the late summer and fall when students, families of students or college football fans visit the University of Georgia.
- 1 Athens-Ben Epps Airport (AHN IATA), 1010 Ben Epps Drive, ☏ . It was the first airport in Georgia and was named for Georgia's first aviator, Ben T. Epps Sr., who opened the airport in 1917. Charter, and private flights are available. Commercial service is no longer available.
- Groome Transportation. Service to Athens several times daily from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. $34 one-way or $63 round-trip.
- Megabus. Service from Atlanta, Columbia, Fayetteville, Charlotte, Durham, Richmond, and Washington, D.C. Mondays through Saturdays, buses stop at the Athens Multi-Modal Transportation Center (775 E Broad St); on Sundays, buses stop at the East Campus Parking Deck on the University of Georgia campus.
To get to Athens from Atlanta, most people usually take University Parkway (GA-316) from I-85 at Lawrenceville or US 78 from I-285, which are both built to near-freeway standards (although you may encounter a few pesky traffic lights). You can also take US 129 or US 441 from I-85 (Jefferson and Commerce, respectively), or US 441 from I-20.
- Bulldog Limousine, ☏ , email@example.com. Airport and door-to-door service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Stephens Limousine Service, Inc., ☏ .
- Athens Transit. It offers many routes to all parts of town. Routes run M-F 6AM-9:45PM, Sa Su 7AM-11PM (on-demand only from 6:45PM–11PM: schedule through the Uber app or call ☏ ). Free until at least June 30, 2023.
The UGA Bus lines offer very frequent service between campus, downtown, and Milledge Ave.
The downtown area and UGA campus are very pedestrian-friendly, while the rest of the city is not at all pedestrian-friendly.
Most major roads in Athens, especially near and on UGA campus, have dedicated unprotected bike lanes.
- 1 Double Barreled Cannon. Corner of College and Hancock (outside City Hall). What better way to defeat the Yanks than to give it to them with both barrels! This cannon was designed to shoot twin cannonballs connected by a chain. The designers didn't take into account the impossibility of synchronization, and the cannon was never used.
- 2 The Tree That Owns Itself. Corner of Dearing and Finley. Colonel W.H. Jackson willed a tree on this spot to itself many years ago. The original tree fell over in 1942; this is its son.
- University of Georgia North Campus, South of Broad Street downtown. Stroll the grounds of America's oldest state-chartered university. Of particular interest are the Arch, Demosthenian and Phi Kappa Halls, the Chapel, Old College, and the Library.
- 3 Georgia Museum of Natural History, 101 Cedar Street (Natural History Building, UGA Campus), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 10AM-4PM. Free.
- 4 Georgia Museum of Art, 90 Carlton St, ☏ . Tu W F Sa 10AM-5PM, Th 10AM-9PM, Su 1-5PM. On the University of Georgia's south campus, the Georgia Museum of Art offers a small, permanent collection focused on American painting, Wednesday night film screenings and other traveling exhibits. Free.
- 5 R.E.M. Murmur Railroad Trestle, 220-270 S Poplar St. Local landmark of Athens, the band R.E.M. used it on the back and inner cover of their first studio album, Murmur. If you would like, you could also listen to the album while viewing. Free.
- St. Mary's Episcopal Church (R.E.M. First Show Church), 396 Oconee St. Now just a steeple due to a fire, this church is the location of the first ever R.E.M. concert. ("Here's the church, here's the steeple." R.E.M. - Bad Day). Free.
- 1 Georgia Bulldogs, Butts–Mehre Heritage Hall (ticket office), ☏ , toll-free: . University of Georgia sports, fielding teams in 21 NCAA Division I sports (9 men's, 12 women's) in the Southeastern Conference. By far the biggest sport on campus is football, with over 90,000 fans packing Sanford Stadium to cheer on their "Dawgs". Georgia also boasts nationally competitive teams in a wide variety of sports—everything from basketball, baseball, and softball to women's gymnastics, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, and more. Prices vary by sport.
- Ciné, 234 W. Hancock Avenue, ☏ . Ciné is a two-screen, independent and non-profit art house movie theater which opened in downtown Athens in April 2007.
- Athica, 160 Tracy Street, ☏ . Conceived of as an 'alternative art space,' the Athens Institute for Contemporary Art is dedicated to exhibiting challenging, provocative and innovative contemporary art in a non-commercial setting, solely for the cultural enrichment of the Northeast Georgia community.
- Walking Tour. Take either the Downtown Athens Walking Tour or the Athens Music History Tour. Both start from the Athens Welcome Center at 280 East Dougherty Street, ☏ .
- Terrapin Brewery Tour. W-Sa 5:30PM-7:30PM, live music and tours are free. Or for $10 get a Terrapin pint glass and 8 tickets to try sample pours of what's on draft.
- Georgia Botanical Gardens, 2450 S. Milledge Aveune, ☏ . This 313-acre preserve features 5 miles of trails that wind to the garden’s farthest boundaries, a stunning 3-story tropical conservatory, and themed gardens showcasing native and international flora. Special events and programs are held year-round. The Garden has been named an Important Birding Area by the Georgia Audobon Society. Also on the grounds: the lovely Day Chapel and the headquarters of the Garden Club of Georgia. Gift shop, gallery, and Café Trumps at the Garden.
- 2 Athens Welcome Center - Classic City Tours, 280 E. Dougherty St., ☏ . M-Sa 10AM - 5PM, Su noon - 5PM. In the historic Church-Waddel-Brumby House, and considered the oldest surviving residence in Athens, this Federal-Style house museum and welcome center underwent a restoration that features authentic period decor and furnishings. Pick up brochures, maps, expert advice; plus guided, self-guided, or audio tours of Athens. Welcome Center free. Tours of Historic Athens, $15-20.
- 3 Visitor Center at the University of Georgia, 400 River Rd.
There are many hiking trails around the Athens area, as well as parks and other outdoor recreation centers.
- The above named Botanical Gardens contains 4 miles of trails along the Oconee River.
- There is the beautiful Athens Greenway that goes through parks and by the river, from the UGA Campus all the way up to:
- Sandy Creek Nature Center. Has an interpretive center, more than 4 miles of trails, including some handicap accessible trails.
- Cook's Trail: Linking the nature center to sandy creek park, this primitive trail travels through wetlands, across many boardwalks, about 4 miles.
- Sandy Creek Park. A lake, and a trail around that, and other fun things to do.
- The Birchmore Trail. This 1-mile trail is found on Gran Ellen between S Milledge and Lumpkin St, near Memorial Park. It includes a granite shoal creek, plenty of trees, and an Athens landmark stone wall.
- UGA Intramural Fields / Oconee Forest: With plenty of sports fields in the front, a lake in the middle, and acres of forest with trails behind.
- J & J Flea Market, 11661 Commerce Rd, ☏ , email@example.com. Sa Su 8AM– 5PM. Visit Georgia's largest flea market for a taste of the bazaar.
- Jittery Joe's Coffee Roasters, 780 East Broad Street, ☏ . Try the many exotic blends of Athens' own local coffee roasters.
- Georgia Square Mall, 3700 Atlanta Highway, ☏ .
- Tyche's Games (Athena Anime), 1056 S. Lumpkin St, ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-6PM. Specialty games store dealing with board games, card games and roleplaying games. Also anime rentals and anime/manga related items.
The epicenter of Athens culinary and bar scene is Downtown. This area is roughly defined by Broad Street in the South and Dougherty Street (which becomes Prince Avenue) in the North. The majority of restaurants will be located in this area, just north of UGA's campus.
There is also a small collection of restaurants, bars and stores centered around the area called "Five Points", where Milledge Avenue and Lumpkin Street intersect.
Normaltown is a neighborhood near Athens Regional Medical Center (corner of Oglethorpe and Prince) with a half dozen restaurants and shops. There is a strong Hispanic presence.
The normal American chain restaurants are scattered throughout Athens, with concentrations of them around the Beechwood Shopping Center (at the intersection of Baxter Street and Alps Road), near the Georgia Square Mall (at the intersection of Athen's circumnavigating perimeter highway, Loop 10 and the Atlanta Highway), and finally at the College Station Shopping Center (near the corner of Barnett Shoals Road and College Station Road).
- Five & Ten, 1635 S. Lumpkin Street, ☏ . Dinner: Su-Th 5:30-10PM, F Sa 5:30PM-11PM; brunch: Su 10:30AM-2:30PM. One of the finest southeastern restaurants is in the Five Points neighborhood of Athens. There are not too many places in Georgia that serve sweetbreads in the first place, but Hugh Acheson shows his respect for place by serving them atop a grits custard. From $25.
- The National Started by the acclaimed chef at Five and Ten, the National offers inventive Tapas style dining. Next door to Cine, sample wine, cheese and meats before catching a movie.
- Mama's Boy, 197 Oak Street, ☏ . Daily 7AM-3:30PM. For a twist on Southern diner food, check out Mama's Boy. The crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken Breast is served with a creamy bacon gravy. It is so good that you will sop it up with one of their dense, rich biscuits. From $8.
- The Last Resort, 184 W. Clayton (Downtown). $12+. A diverse menu of newer takes on traditional southern classics is supplemented by daily soup, quiche, fish and pasta specials. Though the Last Resort is a great choice for dinner, it is perhaps the best Lunch spot in Athens. The Fried Green Tomato sandwich topped with Vidalia-bacon salad dressing is a lunchtime favorite, while the praline chicken provides an excellent sweet yet savory dinner. The wide array of cakes and pies are also of local fame and should certainly be sampled by visitors.
- DePalma's An Athens institution that offers traditional (if unspectacular) Italian fare. Try the stuffed mushrooms for an appetizer followed by mix and match pasta of your choosing. The calzones and pizza are also good. A good choice for a group, the waiters and waitresses will keep the wine flowing.
- Weaver D's 1016 E. Broad. Meat and three vegetables, made famous by REM.
- White Tiger, 217 Hiawassee Ave, ☏ .
- Cali-N-Tito's A swanky mixture of Cuban and South American food, they have great sandwiches and other options. Their lunch special is a great deal, with a side and a drink. For drinks, they have good sweet tea or Coke. If you want beer or wine, you have to bring your own, this restaurant is BYOB. 1427 Lumpkin Street, this restaurant is located near the area called "Five Points".
One of the great drinking cities in the South, there are some truly great bars in Athens. Athens is a great place to waste away in a state of bachanalia. Some of the best bars are:
- The 40 Watt Club, 285 W. Washington Street, ☏ .
- The Georgia Theatre, 215 N. Lumpkin Street, ☏ . The Georgia Theatre is a premier music venue. The theatre is on the Athens Music History Walking Tour which is sponsored by the Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau. 18+ only/ID required. The theatre burned down in June 2009 and reopened in August 2011 with a rooftop bar.
- The Manhattan, 337 North Hull Street, ☏ . Athens. This dive is a place for grad students and professors to hang out at. Their drinks are generally fairly cheap and the conversation and decor fairly trendy. The decorations look like they all came from random buys at a thrift store, and several pictures of MLK and JKF hang on the wall as a tribute to the liberal leanings of the proprietors. Try the signature drink which is Maker's Mark and Blenheim's spicy ginger ale. Also, they provide free popcorn in the corner.
- Nowhere Bar is a popular spot for pool players, yet large enough to accommodate their less recreational friends who simply desire a place to drink. The jukebox tends to alternate between classic rock favorites and Widespread Panic.
- The Pub at Gameday Popular with students eager to avoid the Spring Break type atmosphere at "Bourbon Street" and "Generals." A large and accessible bar, multiple televisions and wood paneling has ensured Gameday's status within the Athens social scene.
- Allgood Usually attracts a different crowd than the townies, fratboys, and the freshmen. The greatest aspect is the outdoor patio bar in back of the second story. Though the bar is large, it is a tad narrow, so overcrowding can be a problem.
- The Globe A pub offering draft Belgium beers, English Ales and an extensive wine list that tends to attract an older, slightly more sophisticated crowd than nearby establishments. Tables, couches and rocking chairs makes this a good place for those who seek to rediscover the lost art of conversation or simply enjoy quality beer. Voted one of the best bars in America by Esquire Magazine in 2010.
- Normal Bar A local bar in Normaltown (on Prince near Oglethorpe) that attracts a neighborhood crowd. Go out back and sit by the fire pits with your dog.
- Trappeze Pub, 269 Washington St, ☏ . Trappeze has over 30 beers on tap and well over 200 on their bottle menu. Trappeze doesn't sell any low-end domestic beers, such as Budweiser but does maintain an otherwise full bar and an extensive wine list. The food list is no less impressive with an interesting and delicious twist on typical pub-fare.
- Quality Inn & Suites Athens University Area, 2715 Atlanta Highway, ☏ , fax: .
- Best Western Athens, 170 N Milledge Avenue, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: .
- Holiday Inn Express, 513 West Broad Street, ☏ .
- Hilton Garden Inn, 390 E. Washington Street, ☏ .
- Hampton Inn, 2220 W. Broad Street, ☏ .
- Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Athens, GA, 236 Old Epps Bridge Rd (off of Broad St./Atlanta Hwy. behind McDonald's), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. 4-story atrium, heated indoor pool and whirlpool, fitness center, daily deluxe complimentary breakfast. All rooms are suites with 32" flat screen TV, microwave, refrigerator, iron/ironing board, hairdryer, coffee maker, and pull-out sofa bed. $109-$139.
- The Georgia Center, 1197 South Lumpkin St, ☏ . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: noon. The Georgia Center for Continuing Education is a residential conference center and hotel on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens. Start at $99/night.
|Routes through Athens|
|Greenville ← Anderson ←||N S||→ Lawrenceville → Atlanta|
|Atlanta ← Loganville ←||W E||→ Augusta → Charleston|
|Knoxville ← Gainesville ← Jct ←||N S||→ Macon → Chiefland|
|Great Smoky Mountains NP ← Clayton ←||N S||→ Milledgeville → Macon|